“These bodily fluids…are what life withstands, hardly and with difficulty, on the part of death. There, I am at the border of my condition as a living being. My body extricates itself, as being alive, from that border. Such wastes drop so that I might live, until, from loss to loss, nothing remains in me and my entire body falls beyond the limit — cadere, cadaver.” – Julia Kristeva
In three sweeping tableaux vivants, artists Yoni Goldstein and Meredith Zielke present a rich cartography of identity at its most granulated potential. The rigid boundaries erected by conventional interpretations of collective, conditional, and bodily identities are torn down in The Jettisoned: anatomic mechanisms present sickness and health as being part of the same process of sustained loss; anachronistic renditions of epic gestures deplete the national epic of its definitive qualities; crypto-judaic ritual offers veiled signs of a heritage while simultaneously dissolving it into another religious tradition. Fittingly, The Jettisoned engages these interstitial spaces with an equally nebulous aesthetic approach, a filmic rendering of the painterly tradition of the tableaux. However solitary and ambiguous the sites it explores are, The Jettisoned offers the possibility of abject recognition.
The tableaux vivants, or living paintings, that constitute The Jettisoned were shot in Chicago, Warsaw, and Mexico City. The carefully considered set design incorporates authentic elements of both the location and tradition addressed in each tableau. The Mexico tableau for instance, incorporates genuine Masonic garb and other crypto-Judaic artifacts with a Mexican working class altar, to a flower covered Y-chromosomal Aaron, otherwise known as the “Jewish Gene”. The Warsaw tableau is placed in a large animal surgical theater, with Polish locals positioned as manipulated monuments and figures from national epics. In the Chicago tableau, Goldstein and Zielke’s childhood memories from Netanya, Israel and Detroit, USA combine within viscous, fluid seepages inside a former industrial soap factory.